This post is inspired by The Pleasure Zone by Stella Resnick, Ph.D.
Even simply the word pleasure triggers in most of us some discomfort, judgment, or unease. Does it bring up feelings of undeserving, unworthy, or guilt? One of the most challenging issues most of us have is working too hard. If we do take time for relaxation, it is often consumed by another type of doing, such as leisure reading. I am not suggesting giving up leisure reading or working hard, rather simply consider adding occasionally periods of “not doing.”
See how pleasure resistant you are:
- Do you typically deny yourself what you most enjoy – foods you prefer but have convinced yourself are bad for you, work breaks to relax and replenish your energy, little treats and presents? Or perhaps, you do indulge, but all the while and for some time after feel guilt and/or shame?
- Do you usually feel guilty that you’re not doing enough for someone or accomplishing enough?
- Do you rehearse in your mind worst-case scenarios, figuring that unless you anticipate disaster you won’t be fully prepared for it when and if something bad happens?
- Are you a naysayer, more likely to say no to an invitation or a new idea than yes?
- Do you get superstitious when good things happen, knocking on wood while you wait for the other shoe to drop?
- Do you have a hard time acknowledging your success, feeling like an impostor at times or denigrating your accomplishments?
- Do you live your life as a melodrama, playing a tragedy-queen, making scenes in public and dramas with intimates that involve strong displays of negative emotions?
- Do you secretly or openly think of yourself as a victim, powerless to do anything about a bad situation?
- Are you abusive toward people who love you or who treat you well?
- Do you believe that love requires sacrifice and that the only way anyone will love you is if you forfeit your own needs and desires to theirs?
- Do you abuse food, alcohol, drugs or something else, and are unable to have a good time without your favorite substance?
- Is sex less than wonderful, marred by guilt or shame, limited in passion, and resulting in mediocre orgasms, if any?
- Do you have to be in control of a situation, getting competitive with companions who make alternate suggestions and find it difficult to kick back and relax?
- Do you feel uncomfortable with solitude, making busywork for yourself to keep yourself occupied when you’re alone?
If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions and are ready to broaden your ability to enjoy your life, then stay tuned for the next blog as we further explore pleasure!